[Skip to Navigation]
November 1969

Survival Patterns of Elderly Women With Breast Cancer

Author Affiliations

New Haven, Conn; Bethesda, Md; Hartford, Conn
From the Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn (Dr. Goldenberg); Biometry Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md (Mrs. Janus and Dr. Bailar); Chronic Disease Control Section, Connecicut State Department of Health, Hartford, Conn (Dr. Eisenberg).

Arch Surg. 1969;99(5):649-651. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340170101024

Elderly women with breast cancer often are treated less vigorously than younger women because of concurrent disease in other body systems or because the responsible physician feels that the patient "is too old" for definitive therapy. These factors of other infirmities and physiological age are considered to be greater threats to survival than the breast malignancy.

Decision regarding a rational therapeutic approach, therefore, may present a dilemma in the woman over 60 years of age who, in the Connecticut Cancer Registry from 1935 to 1962, comprised 46% of a total of 19,400 patients with breast cancer. A third of these older women were more than 75 years of age. Previously published clinical studies are not in agreement as to the most desirable mode of therapy. For example, Beck and Hlivko1 in a survey of patients between the ages of 60 and 86 years concluded that such women should be